Dammam, Asharq Al-Awsat- Whilst prices continue to rise as a result of the increase in inflation, Abu Sultan failed to find any other source of income to support his family of two wives and six children other than that gained by washing cars.
Abu Sultan, who works in one of Dammam’s car parks, says that he began washing cars five years ago. He explained that it was difficult to begin with as he faced strong competition from foreign workers and due to the fact that it was rare to come across a Saudi in this line of work. Abu Sultan explained, “It surprised some people and others were reserved about it.” However, he added that people have begun to accept the situation and he has gained customers and made friends through his job. He is friendly and initiates conversations with his customers.
Abu Sultan explained that in one day, he earns no more than 120 Saudi Riyals [$32 US] and that his average income is between 70 [$18 US] and 90 [$23 US] Saudi Riyals. He begins working in the afternoon and finishes after midnight. He states that he hopes the municipality would provide water for him and others to carry out their work rather than having to rely on buying water from suppliers.
As for his hopes and aspirations, Abu Sultan explained that he wants his son to join the military in Saudi Arabia and become an officer.
Abu Sultan is frequently surrounded by others like him who search for cars to be washed in order to raise some money. A group of young Saudis, in the same profession, who did not want to reveal their names, stated that they thought that the profession was noble but unfortunate. They explained that they take part in teamwork and coordinate with one another rather than compete with each other. Many people visit these young men to have their cars washed so that they earn money in a lawful and honorable way.